I’m excited to share today’s furniture makeover with you. I took a chance and tried something new – something I’ve never seen done before – and I LOVE the way it turned out! I can’t wait to hear what YOU think!
First, let’s chat about fretwork. You’ve probably noticed a lot of furniture painters are removing the fretwork from vintage cabinets to create a modern look. Personally, I’m a little addicted to vintage detailing and find it hard to get rid of anything. After all, it’s these exact details I seek out when I’m buying furniture to paint. So, this got me thinking. How can I repurpose the fretwork while still giving this piece an updated vibe?
Then it hit me.
With the growing popularity of stencilling, decoupage, adding wallpaper or fabric to the back of a cabinet, why not adhere the original fretwork for additional detail! This keeps the integrity of the piece while repurposing it! And, it creates a restyled one-of-a-kind-treasure that will blend in beautifully with an updated decor.
The 411 on this Vinatage Cabinet: The entire cabinet (including the fretwork) was painted in General Finishes Snow White. With some leftover paints, I painted the backing with a custom mixed vibrant spring green (almost identical to SW 6710 Melange Green). Once the white fretwork was attached, the green and white contrast really makes it pop! What do you think?
How to Remove Fretwork
On these types of cabinets the fretwork and glass are usually held in place by a 1/4″ round piece of wood mitred at the corners to fit snugly together. A few small nails hold everything in place. These can easily be pried off with a flat edge screw driver, putty knife or even a butter knife if you don’t have access to tools.
1:: Locate the small nail heads and place your flat edge beside it. Gently pry loose the 1/4″ round with a putty knife, flat screwdriver or butter knife.
2:: Carefully pull off the top, bottom, and ONE long side. (Only 3 sides need to be removed!)
3:: Gently ease out the fretwork and prime/paint it the color of your choice.
4:: Label each 1/4″ round with a sticky note and leave the nails in place. (Be sure to read on and I’ll explain why below!)
How to Add Fretwork onto The Back of A Cabinet
1:: I laid the cabinet on it’s back and placed the fretwork where I wanted it. I liked the looks of the 2 panels separated with 2.5 inches between the panels and around the sides. You could place them vertically, horizontally, or butted up together. Whatever is visually pleasing to you.
2:: Once measured, I held the fretwork in place while I marked its position by tracing with a sharp pencil.
3:: Using LePage PL Contractors glue (which takes a full 24hrs to adhere but will never come off), I added glue onto the back and then positioned the fretwork back within the pencil guide lines.
4:: I weighed it down with paint cans and waited for the glue to dry.
5:: After 24hrs, I removed the paint cans and stood the cabinet upright. I primed and painted around the fretwork to create the snow white border.
How To ReInstall The Glass on a China Cabinet
So, here’s why I label each 1/4″ round and leave the nails in place. It’s MUCH easier to use all the original pieces!
It takes a little finagling to get the nails to line up perfectly again, but it’s much easier than cutting new 1/4″ round, and then either shooting or hammering in new nails to affix. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to buy new pieces of glass when doing it this way! So frustrating and costly. I find using the original (if possible) keeps the integrity of the vintage piece and makes the process SO MUCH easier.
1:: Place glass in the frame making sure to put the long side under the lip of long 1/4″ round that was left in.
2:: Take the first labeled 1/4″ round and line up the nail holes.
3:: Gently press in with your fingers.
4:: If the nail doesn’t go all the way in, I use needle nose pliers to apply pressure.
5:: Continue with each piece until they are all in.